It is inevitable, natural disasters are becoming more frequent and at greater magnitude. Victims as well as relief organizations are often unprepared for the devastation. This is quite evident in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. Volunteering through the coalition, Occupy Sandy, I saw the seriousness of immediacy to distribute supplies to the heavy hit areas of New York City.
Opportunities were identified through researching what relief efforts were being made, what organizations were involved, what can be improved and where interventions are most appropriate for change. I looked at ways for preparing citizens pre-storm, as well as looking for ways to improve the situation post-storm.
Distribution managers at Occupy Sandy noted that volunteers hand deliver heavy supplies in thin plastic grocery bags. The cheap bags often can't handle the weight of the supplies, tearing the as the contents spill out. This led me to focus on packaging that would be robust for carry when delivering. The key insight to the project was
the recognition that typical disaster supplies (water bottle, soup can, flashlight) all share the same cylindrical profile, making them an ideal match in terms of form factor. Providing a tubular “case,” then, in the form of a corrugated tube, makes for an appropriate solution in terms of packaging and distribution.
The NYC Storm Relief Tube is a kit and distribution system designed for preparation as well as aid after natural disasters. Typical disaster supplies (water bottle, soup can, flashlight) all share the same cylindrical profile, making a tube ideal packaging in terms of form factor. Cardboard tubes are already being shipped internationally everyday, making it an appropriate solution in terms of packaging, distribution and cost efficiency. There are currently several waterproof cardboard tube manufactures online that supply the required size. The ends of the tube are sealed with thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) caps to protect the contents during shipping and abuse during distribution or use.
The nylon webbing strap is shipped within the tube and may be attached for carrying multiples or wearing it like a messenger bag. The label on the outer surface of the tube may be written on in order to document the contents, destination, name of volunteer who packed it, date and other pertinent information. Relevant up-to-date notifications regarding locations of supply or emergency care hubs, phone numbers, cleanup progress reports as well as survival tips maybe printed out and included in the tubes or adhered to the outside.
The cylindrical tube form is excellent for packing, storing, shipping and carrying. The NYC Storm Relief Tubes are distributed to homes pre-storm throughout potential disaster areas.
Tubes would be mailed, handed out at central locations or delivered by relief aid organization workers. Additional post-storm tubes will then be distributed to areas in need via trucks.